Peter Kennaugh's final race as an amateur saw the 20-year-old Manxman net a fine fourth place in the Under-23 World's road race after powering away alone on the final climb.
Kennaugh was unable to catch three earlier breakaways, with the race going to solo attacker Romain Sicard of France, winner of the Tour de L'Avenir and due to sign for Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2010.
Second was Carlos Alberto Betancur of Columbia, with Russian Egor Silin completing the podium for bronze.
Kennaugh showed he could be on for a good day when he dragged back the bunch back up to a dangerous five-man break in the final hour of racing.
Other riders might have paid a high price for that, but Kennaugh then still had enough left in the tank to get across to a 12-strong chase group behind Sicard at the start of the final lap.
Kennaugh then kept trying to raise the pace behind, putting in little digs here, there and everywhere. And after Betancur and Silin went clear to chase Sicard, he set off in hot pursuit.
Just 20 seconds behind at the summit of the final climb, Kennaugh had the two ahead in his sights and if they had slowed just a little more at the finish then perhaps he would have caught them.
But the two only had a brief duel before the Columbian took the sprint, whilst Kennaugh eventually powered across the line in fourth place, an identical result to Ben Swift in the same race back in 2008.
Kennaugh's placing was Great Britain's best to date, and if he did not make it onto the podium, bringing down the curtain on his amateur career with such a strong ride augers well for his future in Team Sky.
World Championships 2009: Under-23 men's road race
1. Romain Sicard (France) in 4-41-54
2. Betancur Carlos (Colombia) at 27sec
3. Egor Silin (Russia) at same time
4. Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain) at 49sec
5. Jerome Baugnies (Belgium) at 54sec
6. Marko Kump (Slovenia)
7. Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kazakhstan)
8. Sarmiento Tunarrosa Jose Cayetano (Colombia) at same time
9. Matthias Brandle (Austria) at 1-00
10. Damiano Caruso (Italy) at 1-33
Romain Sicard takes the win for France
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